The gadget blog Engadget covers an important point on Apple’s iPad annoucement – the omission of Adobe Flash support. If iPad is to be the mobile and media device of choice why eliminate the best media delivery software of choice for the past 10 years – Adobe’s Flash. Flash has been not only been the pioneer in delivering vector+bitmap graphics, type fonts galore, music with animations plus video to the Web – but Flash has also remained fast, efficient, cross platform and highly programmable relative to all comers including Apples Quicktime and Microsoft’s Silverlight.
So why would Apple’s Steve Jobs deliberately jab at Adobe Flash [in the iPad demo, Steve “innocently” showed an NYTimes advert that had gone blank because it was Flash based]. Wassup? Is Steve trying to get Adobe to pay for the right to run on his devices[Flash does not run on iPad , iPod, nor iPhone]. Is he bargaining with Bill and Steve [our whats wrong with censorship buddies?] to get an even bigger fee to make Silverlight the Apple media container of choice? Is Steve infuiated at Adobe because they have coded a workaround that converts Flash projects into working iPhone app code? Is Steve Jobs trying to prove that he can at times be more petty than Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer?
As always, only the Shadow knows what evil lurks ….. [update Jan 29th]Maybe not just the Shadow. The following set of comments at Engadget provide some plausible theories for the Jobsian “Thou shalt have No Flash on the iPad”:
It conflicts with their multimedia sales business. How many people would buy episodes of their favorite TV shows from iTunes when they can just stream it from one of the hundreds of available sites online for free? Would you buy apps from iTunes when you can play an equivalent game online for free? On top of that, users could theoretically design Flash applications designed to run almost exclusively on the iPad which means Apple loses control of the application market as well.Of course, all of these activities would be fantastic for the users, but I don’t think that matters to them.
@kojo87 Because Apple gets a cut of every App sold on the iPhone/iPT/iPad. If they add Flash support, nobody will pay for Apps or anything else.
Microsoft doesn’t put a browser on the Xbox 360 for the same reason. They could never charge for things, like games and TV shows, if they had to compete with free web content, especially Flash content.
Think of Apple’s systems as App Consoles, not PCs. If that’s not what you want, don’t buy them. Apple’s sales indicate, however, it is what people want.
As many have said, it does have to do with Flash acting as its own OS to play games or applications without going through the app store.
But historically, Apple and Adobe soured on their relationship long ago.
Look up the font wars of 1991. Apple switched to the TrueType font format to stop having to pay Adobe.
Look up how Adobe yanked Premiere off the Mac platform when Apple’s Final Cut took over the market.
Look how Apple and Adobe went head to head on Light Room and Aperture.
Look at how Adobe took a long time before porting apps over to OS X (and Quark didn’t).
Look at how the FLV format has almost completely killed the QT MOV format.
What’s really ironic about all this is that YouTube is almost 100% FLV videos. You can’t play them through the iPhone Safari browser. But Apple put a YouTube application on the iPhone from day one so that people could see Flash content.
Flash content doesn’t really bother Apple. They just want control of it.
Go to the Engadget site to see more informative commentary on the issue. As expected Adobe is definitely not happy about this obstruction – but be sure to read the comments Mac users say that Flash player is a blight on their machines. I cant say because my Mac is the last of the IBM chippers and its Flash works well. Apparently Flash 10.1 update is the magic recipe; and if not Adobe has its Flash workaround coming in CS5. This story has legs – so more to come.